Garbiñe Muguruza attends AS from Guadalajara, after a night of celebration with his team. Nearby, the Billie Jean King Cup that makes her a teacher and number three in the world. “The goal of number one is always there, but now I look at it less. I prefer to touch the trophies,” he says.
How was the night? Is there a hangover?
(Serie) There had to be tequila! We are in Guadalajara, in the epicenter of tequila. I have celebrated this victory to the full with the team because there are very few moments like this of such quality and satisfaction. You have to enjoy it because it is very fleeting. A teacher’s degree!
What do you want to do now?
Get a deck chair! We have suffered and gritted our teeth for COVID, with the bubbles and quarantines. Last year I was going very well with the final in Australia, I suffered a break and I wanted this year to be different. Now I want to slow down. It will be very good for me to do nothing, get bored until I recharge my batteries and recover physically. Sleep well, eat well, enjoy, because it has been my best season.
What was Conchita saying to you these days, she who played 12 editions of the Finals and could never win them?
We talk about it quite a bit. He encouraged me to continue even though I started off on the wrong foot (a defeat in three sets against Karolina Pliskova making a great match), he told me to remember that I was not eliminated because the round robin is like that. And he told me quite a few anecdotes about his experience, Madison Square Garden … I got it for both of us!
By the way, have you seen videos of Arantxa and Conchita? What do you think of that tennis?
Yes I have seen. Especially from Conchita to joke with her since we worked together. There has been a very strong change in tennis style. They were incredible strategists, the resources they had for a change. Something very different from what we do today.
Did you feel before the tournament that it was this year yes or yes?
That it was played in Latin America happens once in a lifetime. I felt the support from the first moment and the motivation grew. It has been a very long season. The end of the tournament is also a relief. It ended up being my best year and it is a super satisfaction.
Billie Jean King, Evert, Navratilova, Graf, Serena … They are all on a track record in which you already figure. What does it tell you?
(Snorts). That my name is next to him seems incredible to me, I am still processing it. This is a very special tournament because there are only eight players, each game is experienced as a final and being part of the roster of champions is incredible.
Has this year’s Garbiñe grown personally and sportively?
The truth is that if. It has been a progression as a player. This year I feel much more mature. The experience of managing the bad and the good moments, knowing how to drive all year round. I am much more of a friend than before.
He is 28 years old. In this Masters it has already been heard to put the label of ‘the veteran Garbiñe’. Do you feel that way or is it something that sounds ugly or far away?
I don’t feel like a veteran at all! Although it is true that in this edition there have been many young and first-time girls (only she and Pliskova repeated). I don’t feel like a rookie either, but I do feel at the perfect physical, tennis and mental moment.
Do you take better care of yourself? She also works with a nutritionist, a psychologist …
Yes. When you are younger, you are also more rebellious. It costs you more to control yourself and take care of those kinds of details. But as you progress you realize that those little things are what make the difference.
In 2017 it was launched. And the downturn came. Was there a training session where you said, ‘I’m not coming back tomorrow’ because things weren’t working out?
They were two years in which I did not play as well. It’s not that they were bad at all, but they did get tough because I was used to great results and they didn’t come. I came out reinforced. In 2020 it was a shame that everything was slowed down by COVID, but I already noticed a big difference in general in how to deal with things.
Personally and professionally, you can say that ‘I am happy’. What is happiness for you?
In reaping the fruits after working hard, going through those bad times, suffering, enduring the potholes … This title tastes like glory after having worked with my team side by side and day by day. That is happiness.
He has Roland Garros, Wimbledon, the WTA Finals … With the US Open and Australia, where he has already played a final, he would complete the sacred circle of tennis. Is the Grand Slam something you think about?
If the truth. I like big titles and I have neither the US Open nor Australia yet. I dream big and every time I go to those tournaments I am very aware of what they can bring me. I would love to win them.
It seems that no player is capable of occupying the throne of so many years of Serena. Maybe you look prepared?
I’m going for it! But right now, dominating as much as Serena can’t happen. She made big differences and now everything is more even. Of course I would like to be there bothering and winning.
This year a friend, Carla Suárez, left the circuit after overcoming cancer. What a cry they were caught at the Games … Has Carla’s integrity marked you?
Playing with Carla, having her around and seeing her example has given me great motivation and another perspective. At the Games we suffered a lot from the excitement and desire we had. We showed how we both felt. I will miss her very much because she is a great friend and an inspiration.
Spanish women’s tennis has had a good year. And it seems that good players are coming from behind. Paula Badosa said that she was inspired by you because she saw you differently … That must be nice.
You don’t realize that kind of thing because you are focused on your career and it is really nice. When they tell you … Wow! How good that I can transmit those values, that with my effort and they can feel inspired.
Djokovic is 34 years old. Nadal, 35. Serena and Federer, 40. Do you see yourself playing at that age?
If you ask everyone at my age, they will all say no, and I answer the same thing. I don’t see myself right now until I’m 35, but who knows …
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